There are a lot of different categories that make up the event budget and it’s easy to forget some of the smaller details. The event budget should predict both the income and outflow of cash for your event, so you have an idea if everything is going to be covered and what kind of profit you can expect. Having a solid budget allows the event planner to make sound choices on how much to spend on the venue, catering and entertainment.

Plan Early, Edit Often

For most events, the budget is one of the first things to be set. An Excel budget worksheet can come is handy for planning your budget because details of the budget can and will change.

You plan for one venue but it is unavailable and thus you must spend more for a different one. Perhaps you have more registrations than you planned and thus a bit more money to work with or you get a better deal on catering than you thought you would.

Plan your budget early, but be ready to move funds around in the different categories and to be flexible as things change.

Income Categories

  • Grants
  • Sponsorships/Advertisers
  • Registration Fees
  • Fundraising
  • Merchandise Sales

Expenditure Categories

  • Venue
  • Catering
  • Entertainment
  • Staff salaries
  • Staff stipends
  • Travel costs for main event planners
  • Costs for keynote speaker
  • Materials
  • Decorations (centerpieces, etc.)
  • Printing (brochures, badges)
  • Insurance
  • Promotion of event
  • Equipment rental (may be included in your venue fee or additional)
  • Security (if needed)
  • Miscellaneous

From General to Specific

The categories listed above are pretty broad and a good place to start when planning a budget for your event. As you get farther into the planning of your event, you’ll want to get more and more specific about where your money is going. For example, under each category, you would then divide the costs out into subcategories such as:

  • Venue
    • Cost to rent space
      • Deposit
      • First payment
      • Second payment
      • Final payment
    • Cost for blocking hotel rooms
      • Deposit
      • Cancellation fee for unused rooms
  • Catering
    • Welcome banquet
      • Snacks
      • Open bar
      • Decorations
      • Speaker
  • Entertainment
    • Music
      • DJ fee
  • Staff salaries
    • Event organizer
    • Assistant
    • Registration manager
  • Staff stipends
    • Meals
    • Parking
  • Travel costs for main event planners
    • Air fare
    • Transport to/from airport
    • Hotel
  • Costs for keynote speaker
    • Keynote
      • Hotel
      • Travel
      • Speaking fee
      • Meal reimbursement
      • Gift
  • Materials
    • Table tents
    • Printing
    • Giveaways
  • Decorations (centerpieces, etc.)
    • Welcome banquet
      • Centerpieces
    • Early bird breakfast
      • Flowers
    • Awards Dinner
      • Centerpieces
      • Flowers
      • Ice sculpture
  • Printing (brochures, badges)
    • Brochures
    • Name badges
    • Misc.
  • Insurance
    • Event insurance
    • Umbrella
  • Promotion of event
    • Advertising
  • Equipment rental (may be included in your venue fee or additional)
    • Speakers
    • Microphones
    • Screens and projectors
    • Tents (if outdoor)
    • Decor
  • Security (if needed)
  • Miscellaneous

Your event is unique and you may find that you need to add additional categories or delete some of the categories you don’t plan to use. The important thing is to write everything down and keep careful track of where all the funds are going so your expenses don’t get out of hand.

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